So I am of course no longer engaged in youth ministry. However, a few may not be aware that I do still wear the hat of volunteer youth worker at a local primary school. I find this invaluable as it is such a breath of fresh air from the Christian fishbowl that ministry can become.
Anyway, I returned after the recent term 1 holidays to find that they had made some changes in their carpark policy.
How. Dare. They.
I didn’t notice that I had a parking spot which I always used until someone, rudely painted ‘4.2’ all over it. ‘4.2’ refers to the room 4.2 teachers’ parking spot. Well, Mrs (you know who you are), I hope you like my old parking space! I now park in her old space which has the term ‘visitor’ sprawled all over it.
We’re creatures of habit are we not? Anyone who denies this may have a nasty habit of lying.
We have made some changes to our parking policies at Waratah. Not in terms of car parking, but in terms of bottom parking. Not to be difficult, but for the above reasons and yeah, so we don’t end up in court for negligence with kids running along chairs and falling off on to a hard floor.
There’s been some teething issues.
Stop laughing you leaders out there.
Don’t get the wrong idea, most of all things have been fairly smooth after I initially went at it probably a little too gung ho. It is interesting that most of the issues we have, extend from what we’ve become used to. It’s interesting isn’t it? We can say we want to see a lot of things happening in churches but any one who has had to lead communities through change will know that you’re on thin ice when you start to impinge on habit.
There’s one habit that can really catch us short though, and that’s the habit of expecting our own special spot ahead of (or instead of) anyone else. Luke 14:7-9 is Jesus saying something pretty confronting about when we think that ‘we own the place’.
When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place
Jesus said to the ‘sheep’ at the end of day that ‘whatever you did for the least of these you did for me. That makes me wonder, what if the most inconvenient person who just took my seat in Church is actually Jeus in disguise?
I say this figuratively, but also why not literally? Have I turned away an angel from my Church due to my habits? Has God’s ‘mystery shopper’ brought a ‘book of revelation’ style report about us? I mean who’s Church is it anyway? Aren’t we all merely guests of the real master of the feast, a master whom could have theoretically withdrawn the invite without our notice or consent? (Though thank God he won’t).
Imagine if God changed his parking policy? He’s perfectly within his rights to.
It’s a somewhat scary thought. The application is pretty obvious; treat every person that impinges on my habit as if they were Jesus. Partly because no one will impinge on our habits like Jesus.
Engaging in the whole process voluntarily however is easier said than done.
When I’m a creature of habit.